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Full text of "Journeys In Persia And Kurdistan ( Vol.Ii)."

LETTER xvin      "HOSTILE OR FRIENDLY?"                     59

ever, avarice prevailed over fear. The people rarely see
money, and it is not used as a medium of exchange, but
they value it highly for paying the tribute and as orna-
ments for the women. Barter is the custom, and with
regard to " tradesmen," whether in camps or villages, it is
usual for each family to pay so much grain annually to
the blacksmith, the carpenter, the shoemaker—i.e. the man
who makes compressed rag or leather soles for glievas and
unites the cotton webbing ("upper") to the sole—and
the Tiammam keeper, in the rare cases where there is
one. They were cutting wheat on July 12 there at an
altitude of 7000 feet. Where there are only camps the
oxen tread it out at once on the hard soil of the fields,
but where there is a village the sheaves are brought in on
donkeys' backs to a house roof of sun-dried clay, and are
there trodden out, the roofs being usually accessible from
the slope above.

We descended to a deep ford, crossed the river
Ab-i-Baznoi (locally known as Kakulistan, or " the curl,"
from its singular windings), there about sixty feet wide,
with clear rapid water of a sky-blue tint, very strong, and
up to the guide's waist, and entered a steep-sided stony
valley, where the heat was simply sickening. There the
second guide left us, saying he should be killed if he
went any farther, but another was willing to succeed him.
After a steep ascent we emerged on a broad rolling
upland valley, deeply gashed by a stream, with the grand
range of the Kala Kuh on the south side, and low bare
hills on the north. It is now populous, the valley and
hillsides are spotted with large camps, and the question
at once arose, " Hostile or Friendly ?"

I was riding as usual with Mirza behind me, when a
man with a gun rushed frantically towards me from an
adjacent camp, waving his gun and shouting, " Who are
you ? Why are you in our country ? You're friends of